In her first proposed bill, State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest hopes to improve and increase health standards and worker protections across the state by requiring licensing of estheticians as well as nail and eyelash technicians.
State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest (D-West Hartford) has proposed a bill alongside Republican State Rep. Fred Camillo of Greenwich, which seeks to require licenses for all estheticians, nail technicians, and eyelash technicians in the state.
Connecticut is currently the only state in the nation to not have this requirement in place.
“For me, it seems clear that a licensing requirement should be in place for these roles,” said Gilchrest. “Unregulated salons offer a host of potential harm to not only consumers, but the employees who work there. Through licensing, we can enact much needed protection standards for workers and with standardized training we would surely increase the health and safety quality of salons across our state.”
Requirement of these licenses is as much of a protection for the consumers as it is to the workers, noted Gilchrest, who formerly served as chair of the Connecticut Trafficking in Persons Council. Unregulated salons can serve as a hotbed for human trafficking, through enacting such requirements previously missing workers protections would be put into effect.
Connecticut did require licenses for manicurists from the 1950s until 1980. The state legislature passed a law to reestablish a license program in 1999 but it was never implemented and ultimately repealed in 2001. Since 2002, there have been multiple attempts to propose a bill of this nature – but most never received a public hearing.
Gilchrest also noted that this is an opportunity to capitalize on the potential of this industry. “By licensing nail salons and estheticians we enact much needed work protections for employees, protect the public health of consumers, and professionalize a booming industry”
If put into law, the bill would require licensure to be overseen by the Department of Public Health (DPH). The department currently licenses and regulates barbers and cosmetologists, among other professions.
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